Volkish ideas and Art
This week in class we discussed the idea of volksgemeinschaft. This was the attempt to create community in Germany. The Nazis did this several ways. One way I believe they did this was through art. The theory of volksgemeinschaft is that “the organization must not only prevent the emergence of thinking individuals from the mass; on the contrary, it must in the highest degree make this possible and easy by nature of its own being.”(1) In other words, suppress individuality and support the group. Hitler claimed that new and popular art was “degenerative”. Instead the Nazis would support more simplistic art such as landscapes or farmers tending to their work like we saw in class. Although these paintings are nice to look at, they are not really thought provoking or challenging. The Nazis called this the new German art, however it does not feel new at all. It was an attempt to make people recall a simpler time and invoke a national pride. This falls in line with the ideology of the volkish state the Nazis wanted. Therefore uniting people under one form of visual art and eliminating other forms of individualistic art, the control of Germany and the community would be simpler.
(1) Benjamin Sax & Dieter Kuntz “The Volksgemeinshcaft” Inside Hitler’s Germany D.C. Heath and Company, 1992 page 258
(2) “Nazi Art” Wikipedia, published September 20th, 2015, accessed October 15th, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Art